Independent human rights groups and defenders operate in an insecure environment in Central Asia. Across the region human rights groups and defenders are the targets of restrictive legislation and policies, negative political rhetoric and media propaganda, as well as intimidation and harassment. The recent developments in Ukraine and the overthrow of those in power there following the so-called Euromaidan protests have given rise to concerns that the Central Asian authorities may further step up pressure against human rights defenders and others critics of the regime, including by labelling them as “fifth columns” and the like.
Together with Central Asian partner organizations, International Partnership for Human Rights (IPHR) has prepared a new briefing note that highlights current challenges faced by human rights groups and defenders in the five Central Asian countries and provides recommendations to the Central Asian governments, other OSCE states and OSCE institutions in this area. The briefing note has been prepared on the occasion of a workshop for Central Asian and Mongolian civil society representatives held in Dushanbe on 20-21 May 2014, in the framework of the 2014 Swiss OSCE chairmanship. This workshop is aimed at discussing how to improve the implementation of human dimension commitments and strengthen civil society’s role and involvement in the OSCE.